The survey, released by US research firm Evans Data Corp, found only 8 percent of the 390 developers who responded are currently writing applications for Vista, while over half have continued to target XP.
Vista may yet make strides against XP in the coming year, with 24 percent expressing their intentions to target the OS in 2009, and 29 percent expecting to continue with XP.
"We've seen a very big 'wait and see' approach with Vista, and with all the mistakes Microsoft has made in regards to it things aren't looking too good at the moment," said Joe Sweeney, advisor at analyst group IBRS.
Sweeney told ZDNet.com.au that other recent figures have shown only around 25 percent of businesses globally have plans to even trial Vista.
"The new operating system has had more than its share of problems and the desire to move from XP on the Windows platform is still lagging--that coupled with interest in alternative operating systems is suppressing development activity and that in turn will further erode Vista's acceptance," John Andrews, president and chief executive of Evans Data, said in a statement.
IBRS's Sweeney claimed one of the major problems developers have had to overcome when working to build applications for Vista is its new security model--otherwise known as user account control (UAC).
"UAC may go down as a massive step forward in security some day, but most developers consider it a nightmare at the moment," he said. "To get any application running seamlessly on Vista a developer has to have a solid understanding of UAC," he said. However, Sweeney said the survey may not bode as ill for Vista as it might first appear.
"Developers don't really target an operating system per se," he said. "They'll start with a version of .Net architecture or some other platform and then work over to the operating system... so by the time you get to Vista things can be two or three steps removed from the developer's initial layout," he said.